Home Server

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The earliest picture of running my own server, this was the 2nd gen with a new motherboard
and new disks. It was running Windows Server 2003 R2 and functioned as a storage server hosting
network drives to Windows client machines and FTP to access from on the Internet (using FileZilla
FTP Server). It started off with a two platter single 1TB drive. Though this pic shows the second
1TB drive also added. The storage drives have always been designated Data Store (ds1, ds2 etc).

Motherboard was an Intel Atom 1.66GHz and 2GB of DDR2 installed. Video on board also. Efficient
low power motherboard. Though retired from the primary server,
I'm still using it for my backup server.


Same exact machine as in the last picture, except with a newly bought and more suitable case than
the old Acer Micro-ATX (was home to a Pentium II originally).
It features 6x 3.5" disk mounts and 1x 2.5" disk along with a smaller more efficient power supply.
A new 2.5" disk was added to hold the operating system and provide local only storage (to leave
the Data Store drives as remote access storage only).
You can see the host operating system Windows Server 2003 R2. Also with the non-default Windows XP
default Luna theme (green and blue) enabled. Otherwise it just shows bland Windows Classic.
The program shown running is the FileZilla FTP Server monitor and logger.
This is a rare instance where the server has a local physical console attached (monitor, keyboard
and mouse). The server otherwise lives its life in the cupboard without a console connected and
remotely gets managed through its network connection. Of course, a console can be reconnected if
remote functions fail or actions can't be done remotely.


Ah yes, I still couldn't escape the blue screen of death despite running Windows Server edition.


The server now running a Linux operating system called Ubuntu. This isn't the server edition
as I was still new to Linux, rather the desktop edition. The interface it uses is called Gnome,
which was used before Ubuntu moved to

Unity, Unity is a GUI. A Graphical User Interface makes up the graphical elements you view and interact with on an operating system, for example the Windows Start button. Unity appears and works very much like Windows 8. There is no start menu and all the programs are shown as tiles.
which it now runs these days (2017). The program
running is a virtual machine of Windows Server 2003 R2 installing. I needed this as I had to
use both Ubuntu and Windows Server concurrently whilst I learnt using Ubuntu as a server and
slowly migrating towards Ubuntu taking all the serving roles.


Screenshot of Ubuntu running after Windows Server 2003 R2 was retired from this machine
(from both host and virtual machine). You can get an idea of how much
data the server holds and utilises by this copy operation.


More virtual machines had been added later on, this Windows XP virtual machine running with the
sole purpose of containing torrenting operations. Windows XP was nice and lightweight,
I really do miss it in that way. From memory this VM ran with 128MB of virtual RAM
and hardly made the host CPU do much work.


Here's a look at the 3.5" disk mount and the wires for the disk sleep status LEDs.
The disks power down when idle for 20 minutes and I like to keep an eye on this.
So I installed LEDs to the side of the case (seen in the next in-cupboard pic) to
show when the motor is powered on. These wires go down to their respective disk and
are soldered onto the motors power feed.


Where the server lies most of its time to continue running 24/7, ready to serve the home
network and out and beyond to requests from the International network (Internet).


The machine after it sat in the cupboard for 1 year straight. Note it has only 1 intake on the
front and of course it has a dust filter to prevent machine build up which causes more heat
stress over time and more work to clean out. The reason and layout for this mod
is apparent in the next in-cupboard picture.


How the server currently sits as I uploaded and typed these pictures out, in-cupboard shot.
The reason for the cutting and adding fans mod was to control the airflow to suit this
cupboard shelf better, especially as it isn't open to the air and easily locks heat in.
The "Cool intake zone" is on the left of the divider board.
The "Hot exhaust zone" is on the right, where the power supply fan at the rear and the side fan
exhaust the systems warmed air.
The divider board stops the air from the two zones mixing and looping. The blue tape blocks the
remaining vent holes to force all intaken air through the front dust filter.


This is the remote access using the Ubuntu Linux CLI (command line interface). I have learnt
everything I need to administer and maintain the machine using text only.
I can even start virtual machines for remote access from this command line.
(vboxmanage startvm tVM --type headless)
This was remotely accessed from a Windows 7 client machine (my desktop PC).


How the server currently sits as I uploaded and typed these pictures out
This is the remote access using a remote control program called VNC. It allows me to use the
LXDE GUI (graphical user interface) so I don't have to always type commands as with the CLI.
I can use the mouse to point and click, the interface resembles classic Windows such as
Windows 98 or Windows 2000. Only a bit more colourful and themed but the elements are
very similar with a "start" button and the classic start menu.


Here you can see remote folders of the server connected by network drivesa as seen from a
Windows 7 client (my desktop PC). This lets me to read and manage files and folders with
ease within my local network. Media can be read by anyone and shared files allow anyone
to share data in one place between devices. Each mapped drive serves a different purpose
but are all connected to the same machine.

NOTE: The apparent space of the server seen by Windows from the Linux server isn't
correct due to a complicated technical incompatibility. It doesn't effect how it otherwise
functions as a remote drive to read and write files.


The media of the Data Stores hosted by the server, as seen from a Windows 7 client (my desktop PC).